What is true worship?

When we think of worship, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  A corporate gathering where a band is playing our favorite worship song?  Spending quality time with God in our secret place?  I believe that worship can be all of these things.

But at its true essence, is this all that worship is?

For the longest time, I believed that worship was contained to a particular time and space.  Meaning, worship just meant those 30 minutes that started off every Sunday service.  Worship was the time that followed an altar call.  Worship was constrained to these moments where a team was playing and people were singing along.

But as I began to grow in my relationship with God and developed a greater understanding of who He is, I came to a realization…  Worship is not defined by a particular time or a moment, or even a specific encounter with the Lord.  True worship is the way that we live our lives.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “worship” as “to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.”  God is worthy of exactly that: our extravagant respect, honor, and devotion.  But not just through our songs.  Not just in our Sunday services.  Not just in our responses during altar calls.  But in all that we do.  In all that we are.  He is worthy of our worship through the way we love, talk, and treat those around us.  He is worthy of our adoration and affection even when the last thing we want to do is worship.  He is worthy of our surrender and our rights, even when the world tells us to live our lives for our own pleasure and gain.  He is worthy of all of these things because the way we live our lives is true worship.

And here is where the challenge lies.  When we realize all these things, we no longer have an excuse to not worship in all that we do.  No longer can we act one way at church and then be the total opposite at home, work, and/or school.  We can’t, with a good conscious and fear of the Lord, do or say things that are opposite of God’s truth and commands.  Because then, what kind of praise would we really be offering to the Lord?

It’s easy to say that we love God through our words, it’s easy to sing songs of worship out of habit.  But how often do we actually mean the things that we say and sing?  How often are we genuinely telling Him that He really is worthy of it all?  That we’d go to the ends of the earth to proclaim His love?  That He has permission to do whatever He wants in our hearts and lives?

Let our praises and our worship be genuine and true.  That when He asks us to surrender our comforts for Him, that we’d be able to follow through from all those times we sang, “You are worthy of it all!”  When He asks us to lay it all down to follow Him into the nations, we’d be faithful to the times where we sang, “We will go till the whole world knows that Jesus is alive!”  That when He’s doing a deep work in our hearts that will require vulnerability and transparency, we’d remember the times where we sang, “Spirit break out, break our walls down!”

And more than anything, in desert seasons where things seem so dry and hopeless, where we are often wandering with unanswered questions, what will we choose?  Will we choose to let our brokenness and our sin dictate the course of our lives?  Or will we choose to worship, raising our arms in surrender, fully believing and trusting that God will carry us through any and every storm?

Let us choose to live lives of true worship.  He is our perfect Savior.  Our close friend.  Our strength in times of need.  Our good Father.  Our beautiful God that is so worthy of our complete adoration and affection.  Let us give Him true worship and praise till the end of our earthly days and then forevermore into eternity.

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